The writer on Jewish humour and Professor of Clinical Psychology Avner Ziv, in an article published in the late 1980’s, made a very profound observation of one of the characteristics of a totalitarian or quasi-totalitarian state. He said that humour, and in particular satire, was one of the first things to be crushed when a dictator comes to power. Professor Ziv said in ‘Humor as a social corrective’ published in 1988 that:
“……comedy and satire possess a common denominator in that both try to change or reform society by means of humor. The two forms together constitute the best illustration there is of the social function of humor. Comedy is generally received in a friendly spirit. Satire is not. Its victims fear it as a threat to their power and position. Thus in totalitarian countries satire directed against the ruling powers is banned, and any manifestation of satire earns harsh punishment. Attacks on a regime through humor must therefore be underground work. Behind the Iron Curtain, there is a most lively industry for humor of this sort: “
Professor Ziv’s statement outlines just why totalitarians and others opposed to the right to voice opinions of all sorts; especially hate and despise comedy and satire. When people can be prosecuted for mocking the state or satirising aspects of the bureaucracy or even, as this piece is concerned with ‘racially/religiously aggravated harassment’, for cracking a joke, then this should worry anyone who cares about the society in which they live.
We seem to have reached the point in the UK where humour is becoming forbidden. In a worrying development, I see that Tim Burton of Liberty GB is going to be brought in front of magistrates in London in October on charges of ‘racially/religiously motivated harassment’ for cracking a joke at the expense of the mendacious grievance mongering Taqiyya artists of Tell Mama, the disgraced ‘anti Islamophobia’ organisation. So, what may you ask has Mr Burton done that warrants the taking up of court time in a busy London magistrates court. Well his ‘offence’ was to send in a joke application for a job with Tell Mama. The founder of Tell Mama and a host of other pro-Islam and pretend interfaith front groups, Fiyaz Mughal has come all over all ‘snowflake’ over Mr Burton’s jokey application for the post of researcher with Tell Mama and got the police involved. Mughal has managed to persuade the Metropolitan Police (who I believe should have far better things to do) to summons Mr Burton to the magistrates court on a racial/religious harassment charge.
The details of this case have been put up on the website of Liberty GB and I will reproduce the article in full, rather than as an excerpt, as I wish to comment on it in certain places. As well as illustrating a sinister development in what could quite easily develop into a ‘war on humour’, it also raises some serious questions about whether or not Fiyaz Mughal, who is said to be on at least one Crown Prosecution Service advisory panel on ‘Islamophobia’, has exceeded his authority and also whether he is having an undue and indeed malign influence on Crown Prosecution Service policy. It is possible that this case is being brought not because the case has any merits, but purely because Fiyaz Mughal has mates in the CPS. If this is correct, then this is fundamentally wrong. Having the likes of Mughal, whose organisations are questionable to say the least, being able to influence the actions and policies of the CPS, makes the CPS an arbitrary instrument of whoever has the CPS’s ear. This is not not what the CPS should be; it should be the body that impartially brings prosecutions on behalf of the Crown and not a plaything for the likes of Fiyaz Mughal.
Here’s the Liberty GB article. As is usual policy for this blog, the original article is in italics whereas my comments are in plain text.
The Liberty GB article said:
Long-time supporters of Liberty GB will recall that memorable day just over two years ago when, in a rare moment of sanity afforded by the British criminal justice system, freedom of speech was upheld at Birmingham Magistrates Court. On Tuesday 8th April 2014, Tim Burton of Liberty GB was acquitted of unjust and trumped-up charges of Racially Aggravated Harassment. These charges resulted from several innocuous tweets that had been sent to the infamous Mendacious Grievance-Mongering Taqiyya-Artist-In-Chief, Fiyaz Mughal of Tell Mama UK.
Those unfamiliar with Fiyaz Mughal and the mendacious grievance-mongers of Tell Mama should note that not only was Mughal beaten at this case but he has also been beaten in the civil courts and in the old Press Complaints Commission. On both of those occasions, the civil and the PCC case, Mughal was out to silence critics of himself and his organisations. In the Birmingham case, Mughal really piled on the whining and ‘victimhood’ to the court staff. He even went so far as to falsely claim that he was in such fear of Mr Burton, his opinions and his charge that Mughal is a mendacious grievance-mongering taqiyya artist, that he insisted on a video link to the court. What a pathetic ”Special Snowflake’ he is.
However, freedom of speech is once again under threat, as Fiyaz Mughal – ‘Old Fizzy Bollocks’ as he is currently known in the public domain – has persuaded the Metropolitan Police (via the Crown Prosecution Service) to pursue more charges of Racially/ Religiously Aggravated Harassment against Tim, this time for the heinous crime of applying (tongue-in-cheek) for the advertised job of caseworker – in the belly of the beast so to speak – at the offices of Tell Mama UK themselves. Like many of us, Tim felt that Tell Mama UK were doing quite enough damage on their own without an additional caseworker to further threaten our freedoms.
Just think about this case for a second and what it comprises. It’s a case of someone putting in a joke job application. That’s all it is, nothing more than that. There must be loads of people who’ve done this or similar things. I’ve done similar things with my friends myself, such as dreaming up the most outrageous motor vehicle insurance risk we could think of (e.g. 17 years old, Ford Sierra XR4x4, a string of convictions and zero no claims bonus)and getting quotes on what it would cost to insure said risk. At t the time it was a bit of a laugh for the teenage me and my mates. Nobody was hurt by the joke and all it cost us was a phone call and the Insurance company about five minutes of staff time. People make jokes, even silly or satirical ones, all the time and people like Fiyaz Mughal should not be in a position where they can use police and CPS resources to make dubious harassment claims over a silly joke.
Needless to say, it transpires that the rock-dwelling bottom feeders at Tell Mama UK lack any sense of humour whatsoever, as may be deduced from the extremely heavy-handed and pompous response that emanated from that organisation, which, rather than taking Tim’s email as a bit of light-hearted banter, promptly informed Tim that they were passing his email to the authorities – specifically, the Metropolitan Police.
Tim Burton is not the only person that Tell Mama have run to the police about. Recently they threatened with arrest anybody who sent them emails criticising them or as they put it ‘ abusing’ them. I must say I take issue with the comparison of Tell Mama with rock-dwelling bottom feeders. This is a grossly unfair comparison as I’ve encountered some perfectly nice rock-dwelling bottom feeding fish whereas Tell Mama on the other hand are nasty through and through. You will find plenty of stories about Tell Mama on the Fahrenheit211 website by searching for the phrases ‘Tell Mama’, Fiyaz Mughal’ or ‘mendacious grievance mongering Taqiyya artists’. There’s loads to read on them. They will stop at nothing to advance their cause, up to and including exploiting a mentally ill transsexual and working with the Hacked Off organisation to encourage the Press to censor stories that are negative towards Islam.
You may be surprised to learn that Tim was rather taken aback by this response, and he wrote several more emails to Tell Mama UK (in the same light-hearted vein) to say as much. After all, at no time had he written anything that could be construed as causing harassment, nothing to cause fear, terror, alarm or distress, and at no time did he write anything of a persecuting or threatening nature, or anything that could be construed as in any way aggressive. And yet the Crown Prosecution Service subsequently saw fit to authorise charges of harassment, and not just your run-of the mill, everyday harassment either. This was full-blown, red-in-tooth-and-claw, Racially/ Religiously Aggravated Harassment, the kind of harassment charge that strikes fear into the most stalwart heart and is capable of making strong men tremble in their boots.
Because, make no mistake, conviction on this charge carries with it a substantial jail sentence and/ or a hefty fine. Contrast all this with the treatment of Tim by the Crown Prosecution Service last year, when the CPS refused to press charges against a gang of Muslims who had assaulted Tim in the street – in front of a witness – as he was campaigning as a Parliamentary Candidate for Liberty GB in the 2015 General Election. On that occasion Tim’s campaign materials were stolen and he was left badly shaken up. Even though the perpetrators were identified by the police, the CPS stated in writing that prosecution would “not be in the public interest”.
I know Mr Burton’s writing style and I can say, hand on heart, that he can be cutting, sarcastic, accurate, thought-provoking but I’ve never seen anything from him that could conceivably cause ‘ fear, terror, alarm or distress’. Neither, it must be said, can anything of this sort be found in the original joke job application, which can be found here.
This case also illustrates the double-standard which exists in the British justice system where the matter of Islam is concerned. That a Muslim rabble rouser like Fiyaz Mughal can bring a case like this, but the police and CPS fail to press charges against a group of Muslims who physically attacked Mr Burton is a serious stain on Britain’s justice system. As the commentator and comedian Pat Condell recently said: ‘Hate speech laws give undue power to the most inadequate people among us.‘ I agree with that sentiment and I would also extend it to the concept of ‘hate crimes’ per se. This is because if you are for example, murdered in an attack, then it makes no difference whether you are murdered because you are black, white, man, woman gay or straight, you are still dead. The motivation for the murder is completely secondary, a life has still been taken no matter for what reason and that is what should be at the centre of things**. To punish a perpetrator more harshly for the murder of someone who has, what the various equalities legislation refers to as ‘protected characteristics’, than for someone not in one of these groups, makes a mockery of the idea of equality before the law. It creates people who are ‘special’ by dint of birth or by what religion they adhere to, the very thing to which Enlightenment values are opposed. What makes Fiyaz Mughal so special that he warrants such extra consideration by the prosecuting authorities? Is there something dodgy going on? The mere existence of this case may cause many to conclude that there may well be something that doesn’t smell right when it comes to the CPS’s relationship with Fiyaz Mughal and his organisations.
One has to wonder whether Fiyaz Mughal (who sits on the board of at least one panel actually advising the Crown Prosecution Service) has abused his authority by exerting undue influence on the CPS to get them to authorise the unjust charges of Racially/ Religiously Aggravated Harassment against Tim in both 2014 and now in 2016.
This is a very important and salient question. The fact that Fiyaz Mughal is alleged to be sitting on CPS panels and has managed to get this case apparently fast-tracked looks iffy. Even if Mughal and the CPS are not acting directly in a corrupt manner, they are certainly giving the appearance of acting in such a way.
Whatever the circumstances may be, Tim is now faced with the prospect of appearing before Westminster Magistrates Court in London for a preliminary hearing on 6th October. The trial itself will be scheduled for a later date and we call on all those who love freedom – and who want to see the principles of Freedom of Speech upheld – to support Tim in any way they can. In addition, if you are able to donate in any way, large or small, to Tim’s legal defence fund, please do so here (secure payment via PayPal):
I would advise those who can do so to click on the Liberty GB link below and donate to Mr Burton’s fighting fund. The likes of Tell Mama are not lacking in resources, often squeezed from the pockets of the taxpayer or from lottery funds or the naïve ‘great and good’ who run charitable trusts, but those who oppose them are often not so well funded. Please give to Mr Burton, or other people who are standing up to questionable characters, like Fiyaz Mughal and their equally questionable organisations such as Tell Mama.
We trust and hope that Tim will triumph once again against this unjust persecution; however success cannot be guaranteed in the face of a corrupt and convoluted criminal justice system which has been infiltrated over many years by a bunch of treasonous fifth column weasels. Please be assured that your kind support will be greatly appreciated in this case, and Tim will respond personally to every single gesture of support. Thank you.
I hope that Mr Burton will indeed prevail in this case, which is aptly described by the Liberty GB writer as a ‘persecution’ because that is what it is. It’s a case of Mughal and the Mountebanks misusing the law to shut down any criticism of them or satire about them. Please remember that each victory for the likes of Mughal is an attack on all of us and an attack on the freedom of speech that was hard-won over many many years by generations who have gone before. Whatever your opinion of the LibertyGB party or Mr Burton himself, the right to crack jokes is too important to surrender it to a vexatious litigant of questionable probity such as Fiyaz Mughal.
Liberty GB article on Fiyaz Mughal’s continued persecution of Tim Burton
Abstracts from Professor Ziv’s book on humour and totalitarianism
The joke job application in question that has resulted in Mr Tim Burton being dragged before the magistrates court.
Pat Condell tweet issued following the conviction of for former footballer Paul ‘Gazza’ Gascoigne for telling what has been referred to as a ‘racist’ joke
** Here’s an interesting article from Portsmouth University in the United Kingdom on the subject of the repeal of hate crime laws and also why hate crime laws cannot be morally or legally justified.
Tell Mama and Hacked Off working together, something which is bad news for freedom of the press and for freedom of speech.
The case of the mentally ill transsexual exploited for political ends by Tell Mama